Elor Azarya, an Israeli soldier who was convicted of shooting and killing a Palestinian as he lay wounded on the ground in March 2016, has been released from prison and transferred to house arrest, Israeli media reported today.
Azarya was sentenced in February to 18 months in prison for the filmed, execution-style shooting of 21-year-old Palestinian Abdul-Fattah Al-Sharif in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron last year.
His defence team appealed both the manslaughter conviction and the 18-month jail sentence as being too harsh. However, the Israeli military prosecution submitted an appeal to increase the sentence.
A mediation process between the prosecution and the defencefailed to yield a plea bargain in June.
According to the Times of Israel, Azarya’s military service term is set to end on Thursday, meaning that the soldier wouldnot be able to remain confined to a military base.
He will now be held under house arrest until the end of the appeal process.
However, the defense has argued that Azarya has been unfairly targeted and that his sentencing represents a “selective enforcement of the law”, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
“Indeed, Human Rights Watch has repeatedly documented the fact that the problem is not the conduct of a single soldier, but an atmosphere of immunity from punishment for illegally killing Palestinians,” the rights group said in June.